Sip Up Spring and Summer

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Consider these mocktail, cocktail and refresher ideas for your next alfresco affair.

As gardens grow and flowers bloom this month, we look forward to a full calendar of outdoor parties. Naturally, the perfect spring or summer party needs the right pairing of food and drink. Check out these creative ways to keep your guests refreshed.

Pre-ceremony beverage station, wedding at The Barns at Wesleyan Hills

Pre-ceremony beverage station, wedding at The Barns at Wesleyan Hills

H2O Happy
With the recent influx of creative water stations, staying hydrated has never been more fun. For outdoor weddings in particular, Blue Elephant Events & Catering in Saco, ME, has used their hydration stations as an opportunity to experiment with flavor-infused waters, including mint, lemon, basil and orange, and cucumber.

Connecticut Wedding Group in Middletown, CT, offers a pre-ceremony water station as a beverage enhancement for guests to enjoy when they arrive early.

“We fill large glass dispensers with local fruits … including strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, peaches and melons, and infuse ice cold water with the fruits,” says Mary-Beth Mcdowell, wedding planner with CWG. “The display is so colorful and adds a nice touch to something as simple as water.”

For Thomas Caterers of Distinction in Indianapolis, IN, favorite flavors to add to water include watermelon, mint and lime. “Puree some watermelon, squeeze some fresh limes and add some fresh mint sprigs,” says Vince Early, director of sales. “Not only is it a refreshing drink that’s light and summery — it’s also a beautiful presentation.”

Fresh Fruit & Herbs
“Nothing is more refreshing than sweet, ripe cantaloupe mixed with fragrant garden basil,” says Dan Smith Chavira, creative director of By Design Event Décor and Catering by Design.

Ingredients
4 oz freshly juiced ripe cantaloupe
1 oz basil simple syrup
2 oz sparkling Italian lemon soda (may be served over ice or shaken martini style, with the soda added after it is shaken)

Instructions
Run cubes of ripe cantaloupe through a juice extractor. Chill the juice until ready to use.
Make a simple syrup of 1 quart each water and sugar, with 12 sprigs of basil. Cool and chill until ready to use.

Martini style: In a shaker, mix ice, cantaloupe juice and basil syrup. Shake until cold. Pour into a martini glass and top with two ounces Italian lemon soda. Garnish with a pick of melon ball and basil.

On the rocks: Mix all ingredients over ice, stir and garnish with a pick of melon ball with basil leaf.

Espresso Orange Cream Martini
If you’re looking to serve something decadent after dinner, Chavira recommends this mocktail pick-me-up.

• In a martini shaker, pour 4 ounces cool espresso over ice, shake until very cold and pour into a martini glass.
• Float a generous tablespoon heavy whipped cream with orange zest.
• Garnish with a twist of orange.

Mango Pineapple Habanero Mojito
Want to spice up the soiree with an adventurous cocktail blend? “This drink goes great with our Thai braised pork belly with chimichurri sauce,” says April Lambatos, co-owner and COO of Footers Catering in Denver, CO.

• House-infuse light white rum with sliced habanero, fresh mango and fresh pineapple.
• (Or, for faster preparation, you can use habanero to infuse mango and pineapple flavored rum. Taste test every few hours to ensure it is not too spicy.)
• Mix 6 oz infused rum with 12 mint sprigs, muddled with 4 Tbsp white sugar
• Mix with 6 Tbsp lime juice and top with club soda. Garnish fresh mint sprig and mango slice.

 

 

EDaniels_WebSince moving to Minneapolis in 1999, Eve has worked as a writer, an editor, a video producer, and a digital content manager/strategist in areas ranging from arts and education to science and technology. She oversees the content of Catersource magazine, web and social media.

This post originally appeared in the April/May 2014 issue of Catersource magazine

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